Astronomy & Physics

Astronomy and Physics at Bennington cover a wide range of topics. We strive to make all of our classes interactive and involve student-driven exploration of topics. Most astronomy classes involve observing at Stickney Observatory and the introductory physics lab features a student-designed project as a culminating activity.

Recent courses in Astronomy have included an introductory class exploring the conditions necessary for life to evolve on planets other than Earth (“Stars, Planets, Life” Spring 2012) and an advanced class exploring observational techniques, making heavy use of Stickney Observatory to learn observing on a variety of different telescopes (“Modern Observational Techniques” Fall 2012). In addition, students currently working on advanced work in Astronomy include:

  • A student working on designing and building her own telescope
  • A student who was awarded time on an 8m-class telescope to study the variation of pre-main sequence stars.
  • Students developing computer software to more efficiently reduce Radio data from the Very Large Array.

Recent courses in Physics include the standard introductory sequence with lab, but have also included a course on the physics of engineering (Applied Physics – Deformation of Solids” Spring 2012) and will soon include a class on Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity (“Modern Physics” Spring 2013).

Students have completed Field Work Term projects in a range of areas. Recent FWT internships have included:

  • Observing at Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket.
  • Working on a microsatellite program at Boston University.
  • Working on independent research projects with Bennington faculty and faculty at other universities.

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